It is often a revelation for people is that their own personal stories are effective in business. They are surprised that their stories can inspire and bring insight to others. Accessing your own stories can be extremely rewarding. If you identify and share them you will be surprised by their impact and by how they have shaped you.
Here is one such story.
How the introvert became an international public speaker
When I was 13 years old, I was walking with my father past the church near our house. It was a summers day and we met the local priest. After some initial chat he began to complain that the local people scheduled to read at mass were not showing up on a lot of occasions. My father offered, “if you need a reader anytime just pop down to the house and let me know, I will read for you”. I remember being a bit surprised how quick my father jumped in with the offer. He was not that involved with the church other than attending mass. However, that Sunday, the knock came on the door and the priest was there with a reading in his hand. My father response was to shout, Padraig, get down here. “You are reading at mass today.” This was a big deal to me as I was an introverted child and dreaded the idea of getting up in front of people. I hated the feeling of being looked at.
I began to think I would mess up, loose the flow and not be able to finish. I would be ridiculed at school. By the time I got to the church door I was petrified. I went in with the piece of paper shaking in my hand and a tight knot in my stomach. I was shaking so much I could only just make out the title. ‘a letter from St Paul to the Corinthians’. As I walked up to read, I could not keep the paper steady as my whole body was shaking. I gripped the lectern like my life depended on it. I got through it. I did it many Sundays that summer and on some occasions twice on the same day. After some months I was no longer afraid of the crowd and the readings were getting familiar. I was now less fearful and it became just a thing I did on the weekend.
During that summer I lost my fear of audience and of being looked at. That one chance meeting with the priest had changed the course of my life. Ever since then, even though I am an introvert, I have spent most of my life getting up in front of audiences. At school and college I was a student representative. I have had a long career working in international businesses in all regions of the world, presenting and speaking at conferences. I have also worked for several years as a professional Stand-up Comedian.
Today I work with leaders to help them connect with their audiences and inspire change.
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